Paston Letters, collection of personal and business correspondence, mostly among members of the Paston family of Norfolk, England. The letters cover the years from 1422 to 1529, together with deeds and other documents. The family was at that time actively acquiring land and properties in the area, some of it by questionable means, including the estates of Sir John Fastolf. The collection forms an indispensable source for the history, manners, morals, habits, customs, and moneys of the people of England at the close of the Middle Ages. A portion of the letters was published by James Fenn in 1787 and 1789, but the original manuscripts disappeared and doubt of their authenticity grew. However, they were rediscovered after 1865, with additional material. A definitive edition was edited by James Gairdner (1904), and a volume of selections edited with an introduction by Norman Davis was published in 1958.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.